Your iPhone probably wasn't cheap, and if you're relying on a budget case (or, worse yet, nothing at all) to protect your investment, there's a good chance a long fall will do some serious damage. But what if your device was smart enough to protect itself from damage in the event that you knock it off your kitchen table or drop it during a spirited run in the park? That's exactly what a new Apple patent is suggesting.
The patent is titled simply "Protecting an electronic device," but the technology behind it is anything but ordinary. The description details a number of ways that a future iPhone could protect itself from a fall by orienting itself in relation to the ground.
In the event of a drop, your phone would sense that an accident is happening and then turn itself so that it lands on an edge, where damage to the screen would be the most unlikely. The patent describes a couple of ways this could be accomplished: Either by a system of internal motors that would spin up and alter the device's falling pattern, or a propulsion system that could produce a jet of air to correctly orient the phone on its way to the ground.
Of course, as with all patents, there's a very good chance that this technology will never make it into a retail device, but I'm willing to bet anyone walking around with a busted iPhone screen wishes they already had it.